IT took seven long years for Murray Davidson to put the pain and disappointment of missing out on St Johnstone’s win over Dundee United in the Scottish Cup final at Parkhead in 2014 behind him.

Yet, the most agonising wait the McDiarmid Park midfielder has had to endure in his life still came last week after he had taken his final coronavirus test ahead of the meeting with Hibernian at Hampden on Saturday. 

Davidson had been forced to watch the semi-final win over St Mirren from his home earlier this month following a Covid-19 outbreak in the Perth club’s squad despite not contracting the virus himself.

The 33-year-old, who had also been unable to take part in the Betfred Cup triumph over Livingston at the end of February due to injury, convinced himself that disaster would strike again. 

“I was gutted to miss the semi-final because I’d done three tests in four days and every one of them was negative,” he said. “For some reason the government decided I was the one who had to self-isolate. Even though I was negative I missed 10 days through self-isolation.

“I was gutted to miss the last cup final too. A lot of people were saying I’m the unluckiest person ever. I do feel like I’ve been jinxed at times.

“The last 10 days? Honestly, I’ve not left my house. I’ve said to everybody ‘I’m not leaving my house, I don’t want to see anyone’. I’ve done everything. I‘ve been washing my hands 20 times a day. Everything you can name, I was doing it. Because I thought: ‘Knowing my luck I’ll get Covid!’”

Davidson continued: “Probably the most nervous I’ve ever been was the last Covid test we did because I knew it was the last test before the final. But the manager put on the group chat ‘all tests negative’ and what a relief. That was Wednesday or Thursday.

“I just remember looking at my phone because I knew if I’d seen the manager or Mel the physio phoning, like she did the week before saying I had to self-isolate, I knew it wouldn’t be good news. I kept looking at my phone, no news is good news.

“At times I was taking my phone, putting it away and going back an hour later and being scared to look at it. So when we got that text I think everyone was the same, everyone was relieved.”

Davidson came on for Craig Bryson in the second-half of the match with Hibs with St Johnstone leading 1-0 thanks to a first-half Shaun Rooney header.

He helped Callum Davidson’s team to see out a historic triumph; they became the first club outwith Celtic and Rangers to complete a League Cup and Scottish Cup double in the same season since Aberdeen achieved the feat in the 1989/90 campaign.  

The win was celebrated joyously by everyone associated with the Premiership outfit, for the players, coaching staff, directors and board members, but for the former Scotland internationalist it had a special resonance.

“After everything I’ve been through personally, trust me, this makes up for it,” he said. “It’s been a long wait, but this makes it worth it. I’ve been so desperate to get back here ever since 2014 and as the years went by I thought it wasn’t going to happen. When the League Cup came along and I missed that, I thought that was my last chance.

“But the manager was the first person to say after winning the League Cup that we just had to get to the Scottish Cup final. I laughed it off but here we are.”

Davidson was especially pleased for his friends and family, not least his mother Liz and father Ronnie, in his home town of Innerleithen. As he looked back on the Hibs win, he recalled how they had fostered his career since he was a boy and had, due to the fact that no supporters were allowed inside Hampden, been cheering him on from afar at the weekend.

“They’ve been my biggest supporters,” he said. “They’ve travelled with me all over the country since I was 10-years-old, sometimes three times a week, and I am so happy for them.

“They were all in my local pub, the Tow Bar in Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders, enjoying themselves. It was all decked out with flags. I was delighted for myself and my team mates, but I’m so, so happy for my mum and dad especially. It means a lot to them. In time, I’ll get down to celebrate with them and hopefully get to take the cup with me.”

Davidson wasn’t involved in the penalty shoot-out triumph over Rangers in the quarter-final at Ibrox last month, but he sensed that St Johnstone’s name was perhaps on the trophy this year when they fought back against the Scottish champions in Govan and progressed on spot kicks. 

“I thought the boys were brilliant,” he said. “I was watching the game and I had sort of given up because we lost the goal so late and I thought: ‘Aw, we’re out of the Scottish Cup’.

“When the corner went in (Chris Kane scored in the final minute of extra-time after goalkeeper Zander Clark had gone upfield for a corner) I was in shock.

“I remember turning and saying: ‘Did Zander just score there’. I thought he had because I didn’t see the ball going in. I’m usually quite negative, but when it went to penalties I thought this is meant to be.

“The manager said before the final he had every faith in us that we were going to win the cup. But if there was a specific point I believed we could it was probably the Rangers game and after that you thought ‘we’re in with a right chance here’ because, like the League Cup, both Old Firm teams were out.”

Former Livingston player Davidson has been at St Johnstone since 2009. During that time he has worked under Derek McInnes, Steve Lomas and Tommy Wright. He feels that Davidson, who is in his first managerial job, is as good as any of them and must take enormous credit for their cup double.  

“We were bottom of the league in October and a lot of people were tipping us to get relegated,” he said. “A lot of people were saying we were this, we were that, and quite rightly so. But nothing changed. He had so much belief in us that this was the way we were going to play, this will work for us, and you can see it has worked.”